KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Le Quatre Juillet et Tarte aux Pommes
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
Links Around the Bay
Period George
Take 5 with Steven McCarthy
Summer & Bay Area Farmers' Markets
An Embarrassment of Squashes
Mojo in Montchanin
The New Farmer Joe's Market
Government Cheese
Cook by the Book: The Lever House Cookbook
New Discoveries
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Le Quatre Juillet et Tarte aux Pommes

Kendall's tres clever centerpiece. Someone snagged the bag of peanut m&m's before I could start snapping...

Le Quatre Juillet et Tarte aux Pommes ~ 4th of July and Apple Pie

How does one celebrate the 4th of July in France? With hot dogs and hamburgers and apple pie, of course! You don't think we'd eat croissants and quiche, do you? It's amazing how the little things in life that would normally go unnoticed bring so much joy when you are living six thousand miles away from home. Little things like hot dogs on real hot dog buns, not creatively cut brioche, and hamburgers with individually wrapped pieces of processed cheese melted on top with Heinz ketchup, French's (how ironic!) neon yellow mustard, pickles and chopped onions or a bag of Lay's ruffles dipped in Knorr's onion soup mix with real sour cream.

At one point in the evening I was eating a hot dog with all the fixings and started laughing as I realized just how happy I was to be eating a good old American hot dog surrounded by the red, white and blue. Kendall, the gracious hostess who is moving back to the US after two and a half years here, instructed everyone to dress up as a "typical American" (which I conveniently forgot about) so you can imagine what showed up. The grand prize went to a very creative French woman who came as the Statue of Liberty! And her husband won the American history trivia contest, aided by non-Americans doubling their total score. I came in second, teamed up with the precocious Caroline who is 8 going on 28. Her French is so fluent her teachers didn't know she is American. We are all pitifully envious.

Most all of the Americans I have met here try to assimilate into the culture via language, customs, traditions, travel, friends but once in a while a little something that reminds you of home can evoke unexpected emotions, at least they did for me, along with a little melancholy, pride and comfort, like getting a big hug from across the ocean. Funny what a mere hotdog can do...

So the evening's menu consisted of:
Hot dogs
Heinz ketchup
French's mustard
Pickles, onions
Kraft individually wrapped slices of cheddar-colored cheese
Cole slaw
Rice and beans
Pasta salad
Lay's ruffle chips and Knorr's onion soup mix dip
Pringles, Bugles
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Wonder bread (!!!)
...and a big old fashioned apple pie :-)

Good Old Fashioned Apple Pie

I made this pie for the 4th of July party. I was going to make potato salad but I had a centerpiece full of apples that I didn't want to go bad so apple pie it was. It's one of those foods that immediately transports me back six thousand miles and thirty years. I can picture perfectly my grandmother sitting in her kitchen in her impeccable knit suit protected with a 'housecoat', looking out on the garden where my grandfather was always working, peeling the apples in a spiral without breaking the peel, quartering and coring them by pulling the blade of the knife toward her crooked thumb (I always cringed but she never cut herself), poking the crust with a fork then deftly crimping the dough in a perfect pattern around the pie dish.

My flatmates were here when I took the pie out of the oven and they helped me pack it up for the trip across town to the festivities. Yesterday morning, my flatmate Pierre greeted me with a big smile and a request for another apple pie. He said it smelled so good and he'd never had a real American apple pie so off to the market I went for a bag of apples relishing, pun intended, the thought of sharing something so quintessentially American with a French person, and one that has shared so much of his French culture with me. We had three other French people over for dinner that night and they all were very confused by the pie as it neither resembled nor tasted like a French apple tarte but all the plates were licked clean :-)


- 5 granny smith apples
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 to 2 tbsp cinnamon (to your taste)
- 1/2 to 1 tbsp ground nutmeg (to your taste), I use my long microplane to grate the nutmeg, much faster and easier
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 lemon squeezed (please use a real lemon and not that fake plastic lemon-shaped thing that squeezes out something that could no doubt substitute for rocket fuel)
- 1 vanilla bean, insides scraped and added to the apples. You can save the pod and add it to a cup of sugar, seal and save, to make vanilla sugar. or you can use 1 tsp vanilla extract.
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 portions of pate brisee (or your favorite pie dough)
- cream for brushing crust
- caster sugar for sprinkling on top


- 200g flour (7oz)
- 100g butter (very cold (3.5 oz) cut in small pieces
- 5g salt (.25 oz)
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 60 ml water, very cold (2 oz)

1. Sift flour, sugar, salt

2. Using a dough scraper or pastry cutter, cut in butter until very small chunks

3. Add water and combine until you can form a ball

4. Wrap with clear film and chill. Don't take out of the fridge until ready to roll out. Or... you can do what I did and run to the store to buy 2 packages of pre-made already-rolled-out dough :-) it's not nearly as good but if you don't have the time or desire to have you or your kitchen covered in flour, it's a great back-up.


1. Heat oven to highest bake setting.

2. Peel, core and cut apples into 1-inch chunks

3. Toss with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and lemon juice

4. Roll out one portion of dough and place in pie pan.

5. Add apples on top of the dough. There will be a lot of juice in the bottom, go ahead and pour it all in!

6. Dot the top evenly with small pieces of butter

7. Roll out second portion of dough. You can cover the whole pie and poke holes with a fork or you can cut strips and create a beautiful lattice top crust or you can do what I did and whip out a lattice cutter that cuts a perfect lattice every time.

8. Fold over and crimp the edges of the top and bottom crust.

9. Brush the top crust with cream and sprinkle caster sugar all over the top ensuring it's on the crust.

10. Turn oven down to 350F / #5 and cook for 45 minutes (or til crust is golden brown and apples are bubbling)

11. Let it cool and serve with the best vanilla ice cream you can find or better yet, make it yourself!

Bon Appetit and Happy 4th of July from across the pond!


Blogger Digital Art Photography for Dummies said...

These look yummy and the phots are great. I find my biggest dilemma in recording a delicious and well-presented dish is photographing it in a public restaurant. You'd think it would be as simple as standing up focusing on the plate of food and pressing the shutter release. It is easy when there's not a lot of people in the restaurant. But when there is you kinda have to be a bit sneaky so as you don't interrupt the diners near you (this is really a factor if you're in a country where taking pictures of the food you're eating is not an ordinary activity). It's really hard if you want to shoot the person's dish who's across from you. I see that you have framed your photos so that the food is the focus. That's why it looks so good. Thanks!

7/08/2006 1:26 AM

Anonymous Tanna said...

I don't think I'd call this just a regular American Apple Pie. Your pie is over the top beautiful!!!

7/08/2006 2:34 PM

Blogger cucina testa rossa said...

thanks tanna! you're much too kind but it did taste good. next i'm going to tackle the crust. my grandmother made it with crisco, something i just can't bring myself to do, but rich, salty, french butter should work just fine :-)

7/09/2006 2:14 AM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
Tasty Food Sites
Chowhound SF
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
Leite's Culinaria
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Eater SF
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
The Amateur Gourmet
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
Food Books
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
by Lisa Yockelson
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
by Thomas Keller
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.